MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The new owner of the Millinocket mill property, the nonprofit Our Katahdin, will be inheriting not just the land and assets but also the tax liabilities of the former owners.
GNP West and GNP Holdings II, the two companies created by Cate Street Capital for the Millinocket property, owed the IRS nearly $1.5 million in back taxes in addition to more than $160,000 to the town.
Cate Street, for years, has had plans to build a pellet mill on that land and still plans to do so. It just doesn't want to own the land anymore and sold it to Our Katahdin for $1. The property is valued at roughly $1.4 million according to the town's tax assessor, which is nearly equal to the amount of tax liability.
Our Katahdin is a small nonprofit that took in $60,000 in revenues in 2015 and $100,000 last year, according to Our Katahdin president Sean Dewitt. It just recently hired its first full-time employee.
Our Katahdin still plans to lease a small portion of the 1,400 acres of land to Cate Street's offshoot company, Thermogen, which says it's still interested in the pellet mill project. Cate Street released the following statement:
"We look forward to witnessing the positive changes we anticipate Our Katahdin will make to both the property and the region as a whole, and will continue to work in collaboration with them as they move forward with their revitalization plans."
It's worth noting, Great Northern Paper, a subsidiary of Cate Street Capital, a New Hampshire-based equity firm was widely criticized for closing the East Millinocket Paper Mill just one year after accepting $16 million in state tax credits, which were awarded in an effort to save jobs at that mill.
Cate Street also got approved for taxpayer-backed financing for the Thermogen project in 2014, but according to state officials, that financing deal expired long ago.
Maine's Director of Economic and Community Development George Gervais says the state is committed to working with Our Katahdin to redevelop the site.